It's an irony that the performance of two Cook Islanders will have a critical effect on the impact Glasgow can make in the European arena when hostilities commence next week, but neither prop Mike Beckham nor stand-off Tommy Hayes are over worried at the attention of a city anxious for rugby success.

Both are here with their partners and will share accommodation as a foursome. ''I came here to get a taste of European rugby,'' says Beckham, who played for the New Zealand army and the Cook Islands. ''The opportunity came through Kevin Greene.

''I enjoyed the game against West Hartlepool at the weekend, despite a calf strain, and it was good to learn about the style of play. At home we have more short phases, we attack from anywhere and we bring it back to the pack when there is no way through.''

Beckham, who had a nine-to-five job in New Zealand, says that Glasgow will have to rely on attitude as much as anything, and must not be intimidated by the big names in opposition like Wasps.

''We have to look at the big teams we are playing against, with all of their household names, and just forget they have famous players.'' he says. ''If the guys believe in themselves, and apply themselves, then I think we can cause a few upsets. There is an opportunity there as underdogs to upset some big teams.''

Tommy Hayes is the big striding, silky stand-off, who impressed watchers last weekend. He was even compared to Jeremy Guscott in his running style.

''I played in Italy in one off-season, and toured South Africa with Waikato and played against Natal and Northern Transvaal, and to me this is another opportunity to be exposed to top-class rugby and to try to play well.'' says Hayes.

''I would say my fitness is close to being at peak, and I have been here for four or five days now and it doesn't seem so bad.''

And how important does he sense these games are for the Glasgow boys? ''It looks important, and I can tell the guys are concentrating on them.'' says Hayes. ''Whatever, we will be side by side with them and we won't let anybody down.''

q A wee scoop for you: Glasgow Hawks and Hutchesons'/ Aloysians have sent letters to the SRU saying they want to form a formal association whereby players can move between the clubs within limitations.

A players' meeting was held on Tuesday night and both committees have been discussing the matter for some time.

''We see it as a way of offering a career progression for the ambitious players without losing them.'' says Alan Ramsay of HA. ''In the Glasgow game against Montferrand last year we had five guys who could have played for our club. Better players can play for a higher level with it still being in the club. We see no need to amalgamate, and this is not amalgamation.''

The view was echoed by Hawks' director of rugby Iain Russell, who also says the sometimes petty inter-club rivalry in the city should end. ''I want to stress this is not about players just going up the way and us phoning HA on Friday nights looking for players.'' he says.

''It's us improving players, ideas, coaches and philosophies. It is also a case of helping the grass roots of the game in the whole of Glasgow. This really is an agreement across the city and we can stop the silly talk of west end clubs being against the north side and south side. In fact, we are going to be as much help getting HA up the leagues. I see players moving in both directions, but no one will be forced to leave. This is an agreement which astrides the city for the benefit of rugby.''

This week's sporting quote, in sympathy with John Thorburn's pain: ''It was a well-built house, but a worthwhile challenge,'' said by Phil Milner, British karate expert, after he had demolished a six-room house using his bare hands and the help of thirteen folk in 1975.